Chelsea were off to a winning start to the defence of their FA Cup crown on Sunday as they notched up a comfortable 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest
Chelsea dominated the proceedings from the get-go, with Davide Zappacosta created the first chance just 13 minutes in, although Alvaro Morata failed to provide the finishing touch. The Spaniard was, in fact, heavily involved, albeit not always with the best of results.
The luck continued to allude him and Chelsea, who also saw Cesc Fabregas miss a penalty at the half hour mark, until the 49th minute. Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has become a fan favourite, was in his elements on Saturday, and after some fine individual work, created the clearest of opportunities for Morata, who tapped in for the opener.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 5, 2019
Ten minutes later, Morata doubled his and Chelsea’s tally, with Hudson-Odoi being the creator once again. This time, a cross by the teenage prodigy was converted by the Spaniard, who rose the highest before heading the ball past Luke Steele.
That goal proved to be enough for Chelsea, who opened their FA Cup campaign with a straightforward 2-0 win, with Cesc Fabregas receiving an emotional send-off ahead of a rumoured departure. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Maurizio Sarri’s men.
Willy Caballero: 6/10
As comfortable a game as any that Cabellero would have played since he moved to England, let alone at Chelsea. The deputy goalkeeper had absolutely nothing to do against Forest, apart from one regulation save. But, keeping a clean sheet always makes a custodian feel good.
Davide Zappacosta: 7.5/10
As has been the case all through the season so far, Zappacosta was given a chance in the sort of “second tier” game, and the Italian did nothing but impress. Showing a lot of verve while advancing forward, the full-back never shied from taking aim at goal, and also set Morata up with the first major chance of the game. Caught out defensively on the odd occasion, but that was only a minor blip on a solid evening.
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
Barely troubled at the back, all Christensen had to do on Saturday was link up with his midfield, which he did with consummate ease. Unfortunately for him, these sort of games will not help in winning the regular place back in the side.
David Luiz: 8/10
With Gary Cahill not a part of the starting lineup owing to an impending move, Luiz was named as Christensen’s partner. Like his partner, though, the Brazilian had precious little to do, cleaning up well on the rare occasion that he was tested. Sprayed some wonderful passes forward in another memorable outing.
Emerson Palmieri: 6/10
Another who got a rare opportunity, Emerson had the chance to show why he deserves more minutes, especially with Marcos Alonso underperforming lately. But, the former AS Roma man faded after a sprightly start to the game, wherein he also came close with a free-kick.
Cesc Fabregas: 7/10
In what is believed to be his final game for Chelsea, Cesc Fabregas had a mixed outing. While the Spaniard ran the show with some incisive passes, both short and long, his missed penalty blighted his farewell. Went off to a rousing standing ovation to bring an end to an iconic Chelsea stint in emotional fashion. He will be missed.
Ethan Ampadu: 7/10
With Fabregas sitting deep, Ampadu had the license to roam forward, which he revelled in. But, in doing so, the Welsh prodigy also left free space behind him at times, although Nottingham Forest did not possess the kind of quality to punish that. Could be set for a bigger role, with Fabregas leaving.
Ross Barkley: 6/10
Another game of hits and misses for Barkley, whose upward momentum has well and truly been snapped. The Englishman linked well with his teammates, but his decision making left a lot to be desired at times. Needs to rediscover his best, although with Kovacic ill, he should be continuing with his run of starts.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 7/10
This was the chance that Loftus-Cheek needed to showcase his mettle. But, an unfortunate back injury proved to be his undoing, with the Englishman going off distraught. Was in fine touch before being substituted, even winning the penalty that Fabregas failed to convert.
Alvaro Morata: 8/10
A mixed bag for Morata. While he missed two wonderful chances, the Spaniard would have benefitted immensely from the two goals he scored. Showed great timing to tap in the first goal before heading in the second emphatically. Could have had a hat-trick on another day, although his open miss set the trolls free.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 9/10
An outing that could change everything. Hudson-Odoi was the biggest threat in the game from minute one, running riot from the left flank before moving to the opposite side of the Chelsea attack following Loftus-Cheek’s substitution. On the right flank, he proved that he can play anywhere in the attack.
Displayed immense understanding with Morata and set the Spaniard up for two goals. Chelsea might be making a big mistake if they let him leave, with some of the biggest clubs vying for his signature. Hudson-Odoi certainly deserves more game time at Stamford Bridge.
2 – Callum Hudson-Odoi is the first teenager to assist two goals in a single competitive fixture for Chelsea since Scott Sinclair versus Leicester in October 2007 (League Cup). Sparkling. pic.twitter.com/LBOVauSKwW
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 5, 2019
Eden Hazard: 6/10
Unexpectedly thrown into the game due to Loftus-Cheek’s substitution, Hazard played well within himself while still looking like a major threat. Even played in the False Nine role for the final few minutes of the game.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
In what was a throwback to his early days at Chelsea, Azpilicueta played as the left-back upon replacing Morata. Barely troubled, the Spaniard did not attempt to make things happen in the final third, which was not needed anyway.
N’Golo Kante: N/A
On for the final few minutes, his introduction helped ensure a fine send-off for Fabregas.